The best lightly owned fantasy QB options for Week 1
As you’ve likely gleaned from reading our content all summer, the PFF fantasy staff has been just about unanimous in advocating for drafting a quarterback in the later rounds. And that draft strategy ties into weekly lineup strategy in-season. It’s one thing to weigh the opportunity cost of drafting a quarterback before filling out the other positions on your roster, but the main benefit of QB streaming is that the data has shown we can find QB1 value on a weekly basis with minimal investment.
Our own Scott Barrett recently broke down fantasy production by DraftKings price in 2015, and the below chart clearly illustrates there is little to be gained by ponying up for the “expected” top QBs in a given week.
Back in 2005, only two QBs eclipsed 4,000 yards passing. Ten years later, in 2015, 12 QBs topped that mark. In the last three years, a total of 52 passers reached 250 fantasy points while 24 hit the 300-point mark. Compare that to the previous three seasons, when only 37 QBs reached 250 points and 19 got to 300. Cam Newton was the top fantasy scorer last season and has been going in the second round of drafts this year. But not since Drew Brees in 2010-11 has a quarterback been the top fantasy scorer twice in a row.
Of course, it does require some savvy research in order to identify the right streaming options each week. So every Tuesday in this space, I’ll be here to research the best QB values that are likely to be sitting on your waiver wire, on your bench, or priced cheaply on daily fantasy sites. Whether you are already on Team Stream or just scrambling to replace your injured starter, sound options are available, and we’ll find them.
With that being said, the obvious caveat to keep in mind here is that it is Week 1 and we haven’t yet had to deal with bye weeks or injuries. More likely than not, the quarterback you drafted to be your starter is a better play than someone sitting on your league’s waiver wire, so the options below will carry more appeal for the DFS crowd. But make no mistake, the landscape will change each week throughout the season.
We’ll be using ESPN’s start and ownership percentages, and I tend to find more value on FanDuel, so we’ll use their salary information. In terms of benchmarks, to be considered a streaming option I’ll set the cutoff at some combination of less than 75 percent owned, 50 percent started, and/or priced outside the top 12 QB options.
Derek Carr (OAK @ NO) – 82.3 percent owned/39.2 percent started/$7,700
This matchup at the Superdome has the look of a shootout, with Las Vegas setting it as Week 1’s highest over/under (51) in a virtual pick ‘em. The Saints were the most generous defense for opposing QBs last season, and while the secondary is improved, our analysts point to the defensive front-seven as the weakest grouping on the roster.